September Goal Check

After my birthday I set myself 5 goals for the coming year of my life. I know it’s hardly been a month and I shouldn’t be evaluating my progress so soon, but this month has just flown by so fast. I thought this post would be a good idea to show what I’ve put as a priority and what I need to work on.

  • Become a volunteer event photographer.
  • Be more active on Instagram.
  • Get to know someone who reads this blog.
  • Text one friend from New York at least once a week.
  • Recover my body from this summer.

Become a volunteer event photographer. I’m proud to say my photography side gig has kicked off! Earlier in the month I photographed a panel at Stubhub, and just last week I did a pitch event, both hosted by The Expat Woman. They have also invited me to photograph their hackathon this Saturday! Three gigs in a month is the perfect amount – not too many since I’m not paid, yet they are often enough that I can gain something valuable from each of them.

Women Leaders in Tech panel

The Expat Woman has been posting my photos onto Facebook and I also saw one in a press release. I’ve received a lot of compliments on how good they are, but the truth is I think my 50mm lens gives the photos a lot of justice. Although I do think I have an eye for photography, I’ve never photographed people before. There are many ways my photos can improve.

I’m already finding it challenging to work with different light settings – some event venues are dimmer than others, and The Expat Woman really likes putting a bright projection behind speakers which throws off the balance. You also can’t expect everybody to have a nice expression at the same time, so a good photo can be thrown off by two people closing their eyes. Lastly, when there’s so many people, it’s so hard to crop and frame without cutting someone awkwardly.

Be more active on Instagram. September has been my most active month (aside from my trip to Asia in January) with 15 posts. I had a few consecutive streaks until mid-last week, but I expect to pick things back up this week once I’m not too busy. If not, I’m going on vacation to San Diego the following weekend and that’s bound to give October a head start!

Latest Instagram posts

I’m not trying to be so extra about Instagram that I have to post everyday, but really, I’ve enjoyed doing it so much. I used to only want to take photos of famous places, but the more I explore the less famous places there are. Only then I get to see my city in a way a traveler may not have the chance to see. I feel so much freedom playing with content and colors.

I have many more photos than what actually makes it onto Instagram (see header photo at top), but I didn’t want to make my followers’ feeds all about me. I may have to break that promise on my upcoming vacation, since I am going to be driving through California in one day and there’s like 8 photo stops on my list. 😛

Get to know someone who reads this blog. I received so many lovely b-day wishes and haven’t replied to them yet, but I will do so soon. I did get a few responses about video chatting and I can’t wait to schedule them!

Text one friend from New York at least once a week. This has been the hardest goal on my list. At the beginning of the month I video chatted with some friends, and I get the occasional text, Facebook comment, or Instagram snap. I find that I am very extroverted in person and I love spending time with people both in group settings and one-on-one, but through technology I’m very introverted. I don’t enjoy texting because it’s a little too intimate. If you think about it, texting all the time is actually way more intimate than hanging out in person. When you spend time in person, you’re investing in each other just at that moment, while texting does not always have the investment, yet spills into your personal life and demands a lot from the other person. I don’t know if that’s just me – because both relationships I’ve had were text-heavy and had unhealthy effects on my life.

I want to change this goal to video chat with my friends instead. I’d prefer to put in the extra effort for my friends and spend an hour talking, over keeping up a text conversation. Disclaimer: I don’t hate texts – in fact, getting them makes my day, I read them immediately and I love to send encouraging ones out of the blue. I’m talking about continuous daily conversation (with the exception of helping a friend in need). I think I would limit texting back and forth to only with someone I’m dating.

Recover my body from this summer. My ankle has almost completely healed! I made that judgment when I climbed this 163-step (a kid nearby counted it and shouted the numbers) staircase in my neighborhood without pain. I haven’t had the time to do it every day like I excitedly said in my Instagram caption, but I want to do so regularly since it’s the only hiking trail within walking distance.

Once I get to the top, there’s another hike up one of the tallest hills in the city. It has such a lovely view of my neighborhood, downtown SF, and the Golden Gate Bridge! Next time I’ll need to bring my camera up there!

Rightfully named Grandview Park.

New Goal. Get a paid position by the end of the year.

I didn’t want to write this as it’s a hard topic for me, but I’ve been unemployed for the past 6 1/2 months since I started searching. I turned down an engineering job in the beginning because I don’t want to do everything – I want to do something and I want to do it right. I’m obviously a creative and have ideas and passion. Honestly, I’m no engineer – I’m just good at creatively searching for the code I need. 😉

I know I’ve “done a lot” since, like redesigning my blog and thesis, taking over my church’s web user experience, and starting a photography gig. But I haven’t been as proactive about the job search this month. I had at least 30 interviews in the summer, and the only interview that said I did well (though I didn’t get the job) was Yelp. It was also my only top-company interview.

It’s super discouraging when a company begs you to interview, and the interviewer gets visibly annoyed once they realize you’re not “the one” when it’s their mistake for not properly screening your portfolio. It’s super annoying when a company doesn’t want to pay you and finds somebody with more experience, and yet still asks you to consider them for another opportunity. And as always, it’s a hoot when people only focus on hard skills of how many years you have been using Photoshop rather than looking at what you’ve done.

I have zero control over this goal, but I’m not going to let negative people get me down. And that means finding a position where people care about what they do and the manager knows what he/she is managing. The reason I volunteer is because degrees and previous jobs are not that impressive when everybody has them. Volunteering allows me to develop who I am as a person and my work ethic in an environment that really demands it. It takes the focus off money and how much I gain from others, and prepares me for the right job.

Anyways, here’s a video of my new portfolio to end things on. I’m going to try to post more design work either on Twitter or somewhere people can follow!

Write a Comment

5 Comments to "September Goal Check"

Brandy wrote on 27th September 2017 at 2:23 PM

Your portfolio looks so good. I love the feel and the fun background.

I enjoy instagram on the creativity aspect. I often see some great content with a mix of silly memes. I’ve found myself scrolling, realizing an hour has passed. I’m not the best photographer, but I still enjoy using it. I’ve recently followed you as well. I’m over on @_BranLynn, BTW.

I’m so glad to hear that your ankle is getting better. 🙂


Claudine wrote on 2nd October 2017 at 3:37 AM

It’s awesome that you’ve already progressed a lot on your goals given the short time period since you set them! 🙂 Congratulations on starting your photography side gig; I don’t know much about photography but the lighting situations you just mentioned do sound challenging to shoot in! I’m glad you’re using this opportunity to learn a lot though!

I’m not a good photographer but I really like looking at awesome Instagram feeds. There’s a lot of well-curated stuff out there <3 I followed you by the way! (@claudinehere)

Good luck on your job search! I know how frustrating it is to look for a job especially when months have passed. But I guess the only thing to do is keep looking, you'll definitely get a job that's a perfect fit for you. Wishing you all the best <3


cantaloupe wrote on 3rd October 2017 at 11:56 PM

You are super motivated, and that is awesome to see. You can definitely get the perfect paid position, don’t lose faith!


Cat wrote on 4th October 2017 at 1:53 AM

You’ve made good progress on your goals in such a short amount of time! That’s great that you’re getting photography gigs and are helping out at these tech events. I love prime lens a lot, but for event photography, having a high quality zoom lens helps too! I totally know what you mean about trying to capture a good expression. I end up snapping many photos in quick succession, in hopes that one is more flattering than the others.

I’ve enjoyed seeing what you post on Instagram! I think that’s interesting that you become more introverted when it comes to text. I guess it is a very different feel than doing a real-time chat, like video or voice. I’m also glad that your ankle is almost healed!

I think that’s understandable to wait for a position that you feel is right for you. In the end, that will probably make you happier! Unfortunately, sometimes there is a disconnect between the recruiter and the people who are doing the actual hiring. I’ve experienced that at my own company where the recruiter would set up interviews for people that really didn’t fit. I can definitely see how it’s not a good experience. Your portfolio looks great though! I hope you find something soon! Good luck!


Tara wrote on 13th October 2017 at 7:55 PM

Setting realistic goals is good. You can’t overwhelm yourself by setting so many in an unreasonable amount of time. You set the right amount 🙂

I’m glad your photography side gigs have gone well! It’s even better that the group who you did something for invited you to photograph another event. I hope it will become something you can monetise in the future!

I hope your future video chats with bloggers go well 🙂 And it’s hard staying in touch with friends that are far away from you. That’s the case with many of my friends, but I do make the effort to message them every so often. Some friends, we message regularly back and forth. I find that texting/DMing is the best way to do so.

Good luck with your job hunt. It is discouraging, but you will land a good job that will be perfect for you!


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